Planar Tales: The Duchess of Doom

Will you brave the horrors of thomson manor & confront the duchess of doom in your quest for treasure?

Hello and Welcome to Planar Tales! Each Planar Tale is told by an Adventuring Party using Demiplane alongside their adventures and features a story that had their group clamoring for more! 

October’s Planar Tale  takes us to a haunted manor surrounded by spirited rumors. As you approach the main gates, one of the townspeople gestures to the crooked house and tells you about the tragedy that happened there decades ago and the treasure rumored to still be inside. Will your Adventuring Party brave the manor to find the treasure? Why does the manor seem to look…hungry? Who is the Duchess of Doom?

Grab your gear and get ready for a haunting Adventure! 

Location: The Haunted Manor

In many ways, as you look at the haunted manor it feels as though you are looking upon a many-eyed monster of the abyss. The building appears to have been constructed well, but poorly maintained in more recent decades. Three and a half stories of wood, windows, and balconies lurch out at uncomfortable angles, casting shadows that eerily look like faces, contorted in rage, horror, and hunger. The front is framed by two ivy-covered marble staircases that jut out and up to the entranceway like a broken collar bone. 

Should you ask passers-by about the manor, they would give you the following answer in hushed tones. The haunted manor is known as the Thomson Manor, after the Thomson family who lived there for generations. They were a wealthy and well-respected family with warrior-blood running through their veins. Their power and prestige had been hard-won, something remembered through their family motto, which is scrawled across the front gate: vita incerta, mors certissima (“the most certain thing in life is death”). 

The last Thomsons to live in the manor had a daughter, Theresa, famed for her prowess with any blade, a true warrior at heart and the pride of the Thomson family line. She fell in love with a soldier and vowed to run away with him, but the soldier mysteriously went missing after her father forbade the match and insisted her marriage be a political one, not one for love. As the legend goes, she returned home one night and murdered everyone in the manor in a spiteful, violent rage. No one knows what happened to Theresa, but the bodies of her family were found the next day, cleaved into pieces by the blows of her vengeful axe. 

Now the Manor is rumored to be haunted, but still Adventuring Party after Adventuring Party comes to the manor, lured by the promise of the Thomson treasure hidden inside. Nearby villagers occasionally hear screams coming from the manor, and say that no Adventuring Party that has gone in has ever come out again. 

McGuffin: The Stone Puzzle

 Once you’ve passed through the gates of the eerie manor and made your way up to the entrance, you find that instead of a door there is a massive, 10-foot tall stone slab. The slab is perfectly smooth, with no gaps or apparent weaknesses, save for runes etched into the stone and three medium-sized indentations shaped like a pyramid, a cube, and a diamond. The runes (once they are deciphered by a brave Adventurer) form a riddle that reads: “Only the highest in numbers will grant you entry. The odds are in your favor.” 

Separately, around the entrance way to the manor, Adventurers can find the three unexpectedly heavy pieces of stone. One piece of stone is a pyramid, one is a cube, and the other is an eight-sided diamond. Each piece of stone has a corresponding number on the face, almost like a set of dice. The stone door is the first puzzle that your Adventurers must solve in order to gain access to the manor. 

The stone slab – and the entranceway to the Manor – opens when the Adventurers place the stone dice into the indentations with the largest odd number facing into the slab (3 for the pyramid, 5 for the cube, and 7 for the eight-sided diamond). 

NPC: Really hungry Piano

When you enter the manor and step into the drawing room, you find a single light glowing red over a beautiful grand piano. As you grow closer to see scratched etched across the piano’s surface, and slashes of brown that look like dried blood. The pattern suggests a violent attack and arterial spray. A portrait of a middle-aged woman sits on a table off to the side, her beloved piano prominently displayed in the background. 

If you move past the piano, it begins to twist and turn, giving the appearance of stalking you around the room. Look closer and the piano transforms into a hideous monster, teeth gnashing sharply, its long tongue jutting out as it tries to consume any Adventurers that find their way into its path. The piano now has the appearance of a bloodthirsty beast, angry, hungry, and surprisingly mobile.

NPC: The Duchess of Doom

Appearing as a floating young woman, glowing faintly in the dim light, the Duchess of Doom is clad in ethereal rough-hewn battle armor, a spiked hairpiece, and wields two very sharp axes, one in each hand. Her eyes are white, unblinking and glistening with rage. Her voice is deeper than you would expect and grainy, like a radio trying to tune into a faraway station. 

Now that death has taken her but the afterlife refuses her, Lieutenant Theresa Thomson has become known as the Duchess of Doom, a spectral warrior cursed to guard the Thomson Manor. In life she was the lieutenant of the local militia where she fell in love with one of the soldiers that she was leading. They decided to run away together, but when her father found out their plans the soldier mysteriously went missing, never making it to their intended rendezvous point. Theresa returned home, axes in hand, convinced that her family had put an end to their relationship and the soldier’s life. One by one she went through the house, claiming vengeance on all inside. 

The Duchess of Doom still waits for the spirit of her beloved soldier to come to her, so that they may move on together in peace. She now haunts Thomson Manor and brutally slays any Adventurer who crosses the threshold and threatens to get in her way of their reunion. 

Art by Tony Vassallo

 

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